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Bozeman Montana Real Estate's Blog

"Real Estate Team Service Above Expectation"

By Jenifer Lower | Broker in Bozeman, MT
  • Online Real Estate Searching: Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com and Non-Disclosure States

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Bozeman, In My Neighborhood in Bozeman, Property Q&A in Bozeman  |  April 14, 2014 7:37 AM  |  27 views  |  1 comment

    Online Real Estate Searching: Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com and Non-Disclosure States

    Consumers start their searches online. That is a well-known constant in the real estate marketplace. The megaliths of the industry spice up their online information by adding the sold price or estimated value into their searches. For many who are searching online, this is added valuable information—there are a few exceptions.

    Non-Disclosure states do not have the information available for these megalith websites to pull public records from. In fact, in the few non-disclosure states, attempting to pull recent sales data from a public information source will severely skew many online consumers’ expectations.

     Trulia Estimates Home Values 

    Why are Trulia Estimates not available in all locations?

    There are many areas across the country where home facts and recent sales data are limited or not available at all. For example, there are certain “non-disclosure” states, like Texas, that do not disclose sale prices for homes in public records http://www.trulia.com/trulia_estimates/.”

     Zillow Estimates Home Values 

    Since we rely on public county records as our primary data source driving our Zestimate algorithms (which take comparable sales prices into account), it poses a challenge to calculate accurate Zestimates when sale prices are not available. (http://www.zillow.com/blog/chronicles-of-data-collection-ii-non-disclosure-states-3783/)

    Those are the danger words: estimated sales price, poses a challenge to calculate accuracy. Free comps are provided by an online algorithmic code based on data that 'yields a wider margin of error'.

     Realtor Estimates Home Values 

    It is a standard industry practice to estimate sale prices based on one of two methods:

    1) transfer tax paid in a home sales transaction (most reliable estimate) and

    2) first mortgage amount (yields a wider margin of error) in states without a transfer tax or where than information is unavailable.

    That means the consumer will still see “free comps” of estimated sale prices instead of public record actual sales data. (http://www.realtor.com/home-values/HomeValuesFaq.aspx#Whichstatesarenondisclosurestates)

    Takeaway: In non-disclosure states, online consumers are getting erroneous information.

    Non-Disclosure States:

    Some states do not disclose the actual value of property sales to the public. Non-disclosure states include: Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

    An Agent Estimates Home Values

    In the non-disclosure states, the ONLY WAY to get accurate sold comps will be reaching out and breaking that online wall of perceived privacy and asking a real estate agent with access to MLS. Getting comps specifically for your home goes even further. 

  • Online Leads and Real Estate: Respect & Privacy of the Online Consumer

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Bozeman, Home Selling in Bozeman, How To... in Bozeman  |  April 1, 2014 7:13 AM  |  86 views  |  No comments

    Consumers are smarter and more resistant to old lead generation methods. As the real estate industry moves more and more to an online lead capture structure, agents need to be aware of the vastly different customer service that is required.

    The no. 1 area agents can work at in order to achieve the maximum ROI on their lead processes is:

    Know Jane Doe’s Tier:

    • I Am Ready to Move: I will input my data into your lead capturing site and visit it regularly. I am okay with you reaching out to me and actually expect that quick response because I would really like to go see some houses this week. If you do not get ahold of me, I will use the first agent to reach out because they are providing me with what I need.
    • I Am Seeking Information to Possibly Move in the Next 6 mo.: I will input my data into your lead generation site and visit regularly. If you reach out to me, please start with small touches. Emails, area information, etc, when I get closer to coming to the city I am planning on moving, please contact me then.
    • I Am Seeking Information to Possibly Move in the Next Few Years: I will input my data into your lead capturing site and visit in pulses. I do not want a hard touch ‘phone call’ from you yet. Please maintain the wall of privacy even if you can see every time I login and search (because honestly, that is just a little creepy). I feel protected here and may be pushed away if you are too prompt.
    • I Am Seeking Information to Stay Informed. Not Planning on Moving: I will input data, it may or may not be my own, into your lead capturing site and explore. If there is a promise of information when I fill the personal information out, I would like that information sent to me readily. If you reach out to me, I will be clear about my intentions and please respect those. I do not want your sales pitch but if you do provide me with valuable content, you will be on my mind if I choose to engage in real estate.

    Each of these is a gross generalization of where people find themselves in life, but if you are able to discern the subtle differences in what stage a consumer is at, the consumer will be satiated by your level of performance. The trick is that it must come across seamlessly—automated AND personalized just for them. This is a tug-of-war game between perceived value, satisfaction and in the end, loyalty/obligation. Consumers are looking to be delighted (Lee, Lee, & Feick, 2001; Oliver, 1999) and have superior value delivered to them. The more specifically a real estate agent can glean just what the online lead is looking for, the faster, more accurately and more appropriately the lead can be nurtured.


  • Internet Leads and Real Estate: Personable, Professional and Not Pushy

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Bozeman, Home Selling in Bozeman, How To... in Bozeman  |  March 19, 2014 10:19 AM  |  117 views  |  1 comment

    Internet Leads and Real Estate: Being Personable, Professional and Not Pushy

    The internet is now such a part of our lives that when it comes to making challenging or live-changing decisions, we can all dabble in the choices for a long and uncommitted about of time until we, as consumers, decide to make our move. In the real estate world, where over 93% of buyers start their search online; this can be a maddening process. The instant you login to a lead generation site to look for homes, no matter how serious, ready or real you are, there in an agent out there who becomes invested in you. Here is how it plays out:

    From the Agent's Side:

    When there is an opening in my schedule, I go and 'poke the bear,' the fond terminology our office has given to the practice of interacting with our online internet lead database. It can be done from anywhere with wifi and it is a great opportunity to go back to some leads that are lingering in the online world that have not yet converted into anything so solid as a 'hot lead.' Many leads are eager for that first point of contact but then they want to chill in the flood of information they have access to online before they are pushed into any type of decision making phase. Because of this, many leads are kept in touch with through a multitude of:

    • Market Updates emailed to them
    • Listing Updates they have signed up for
    • Slowly a Rapport builds up between us without me ever having met them

    Ideally, after seven months to a year of this type of contact, our relationship is ready to move to the next level. Familiarity with me becomes a phone conversation. The comfort built in that phase transitions into hopefully being their buying or selling agent when they do make the choice to act upon their real estate venture.


    More often than not, that is where all leads end—in the information gathering zone. But sometimes, between a 3-7% conversion rate, they become clients. Then my 'job' starts as I help them to find their dream home or to sell their home to chase a new dream.

    From the Consumer's Side (To Come)…



  • HRDC "We Believe Everyone Deserves a Safe Place to Call Home"

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Bozeman, Market Conditions in Bozeman, Home Buying in Bozeman  |  March 12, 2014 7:13 AM  |  134 views  |  No comments

    “HRDC is a non-profit community action agency dedicated to strengthening the community through innovation and leadership in the areas of Housing, Food & Nutrition, Child & Youth Development, Senior Empowerment, Community Transportation, Home Heating–Energy–Safety, and Community Development.”  -http://thehrdc.org/


    Housing is the overlap Bozeman Montana Real Estate has with the local HDRC. A strong tenant on which the non-profit is built is the ability to find affordable housing. The HDRC's housing initiative covers everything from homeownership to helping the homeless. This includes but is not limited to: emergency shelter, transitional housing, affordable rentals, rental subsidies, down payment assistance, or home buyers education and counseling, and  foreclosure prevention.  HRDC incorporates its community development and strategic planning initiatives into a housing strategy to meet both the needs of the community and our customers.


    • Down Payment Assistance: One-on-one homeownership counseling is available for those looking to enter the real estate market by covering a barrage of circumstances determined by:  household eligibility, financing eligibility and real estate eligibility. LEARN MORE  
    • Home-buyer Education:  If you are asking yourself questions like ‘am I ready to buy a home?’ or ‘what are the benefits of owning a home?’ then perhaps your next step is to register and learn through an eight hour course provided by the HRDC. The course is open to everyone and free of charge. Space is limited, so pre-registration and refundable deposits are required. LEARN MORE

    If you are interested in registering for a First Time Home Buyer course here in Bozeman, register here. If you sign up for the April 5th date, I will see you there! 

  • Commercial Real Estate: The In's and Out's

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Bozeman, Home Selling in Bozeman, Investment Properties in Bozeman  |  February 20, 2014 1:51 PM  |  175 views  |  No comments

    Commercial versus Residential Real Estate:

    Commercial real estate is anything other than a single-family home. Generally, commercial real estate references office buildings, multiple-family units, retail properties and manufacturing facilities. Most people engage with the commercial real estate market because: they have a specific business that needs space, the want some extra rental income or they want to build equity.

    If your objective is to purchase for specific use:

    Buying versus leasing a space is a debate of give and take. If you buy, you build yourself equity and are able to do whatever you want with the space without restrictions from the property owner. With renting, you are protected a little more from the unseen risk factors of potentially buying in a bad location or the loss of liquidity by tying all your funds up with one big real estate purchase.

    If your objective is to supplement your income with rental money:

    Risk factors are alive and well in the rental word from the landlord's side as well. Renting a property can take a large amount of cash flow to maintain. Building repairs, diligence to make sure your tenant's business is faring well enough for them to pay the rent and legal fees if they don't.

    If your objective is to build equity:

    By building equity in your CRE (commercial real estate), its value may increase because of inflation, and because the principal balance of the loan is decreasing and you’ll enjoy the tax benefits of depreciation that o-sets income.


    So, still interested in buying commercial real estate? Here is a good outline to set you started.

    • Find a good great Realtor to represent you. Find someone who specializes in commercial real estate so they can lend advice, insight and experience to the search. READ MORE
    • Build a legal team around you. You be involved with a buyer's attorney, lender's attorney and seller's attorney. The buyer's attorney will prepare any formal offers including the good faith deposit. The lender's attorney will draft the loan documents and check for any liens against the building. The seller's attorney develops the final Purchase and Sales agreement and creates the Bill of Sale to be signed at closing.
    • Hire and CPA, Business Advisor and Insurance Broker all of which will make your business flourish post commercial purchase. READ MORE


  • Real Estate Agent Teams: The Fastest Growing Model in the Industry

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Bozeman, How To... in Bozeman, Home Ownership in Bozeman  |  February 7, 2014 5:28 PM  |  200 views  |  No comments

    There is a new business dynamic sweeping real estate companies. It is a business model Bozeman Montana Real Estate.net has been embracing for three years now and it has served us well.


    Why is a Team is Appealing:

    What a transaction entails: oodles of paperwork, countless hours of showing requests needing coordination, inspection meetings, ongoing and persistent and aggressive marketing, client-agent meetings, MLS modifications, phone and internet constant communication... ect.

    • Perception of an Agent Working on a Team: By entering the team atmosphere, you gain something valuable: money on marketing, a pool of leads, and/or rent-free office space. This comes at the cost of most of your office's marketing going to the whole office so standing out is a challenge. Additionally, the commission splits supporting the team mechanism go to supporting the team. It really matters who is running the team. Their personality including their strengthens and weaknesses will seep into the team structure unless they combat it by surrounding themselves with those to compensate and compliment those aspects.

    One Side: “Problem is, managing people is difficult and creating a team that can generate enough business to keep everyone satisfied and motivated is not easy.” Read more

    The Other Side: I think it depends a lot on your experience because starting out in real estate I would've quit after a week if I didn't have the support of my team. Read more

    • Perception of the Client Using a Team: The team idea is hard to market so that the client is not shocked of feels mislead when they choose your office to work with. Many clients will choose to work with a prominent agent in their area and feel deceived when most of their transaction is handled by the others in the office. Communications are fragile and may overlap if a client is in regular contact with both the team leader and the person handling the transaction. At the same time, if the system in consistent, rigorous and driven, the result can be a flawless experience for the client and the agency excel as a company. (Source)
  • Better Listings: Bozeman Montana Real Estate.net's Approach to Selling

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Bozeman, In My Neighborhood in Bozeman, Property Q&A in Bozeman  |  January 31, 2014 9:11 AM  |  206 views  |  No comments

    The 2013 Stats are out! The Bozeman Montana Real Estate.net Team boasted:

    • ~$40.5 Million Moved in 2013
    • 136 Transactions Closed in 2013
    •  98 Buyers Purchased Home with Bozeman Montana Real Estate.net in 2013
    • We Have 3,500 Active Buyers in a Maintained and Groomed Database
    • We Are Bozeman Relocation Experts with 95% of Leads Coming From Online
    • We facilitated our largest Commercial real estate transaction: Bozeman’s Wasabi!


    This year, our Thinking Outside of the Box Approach allowed us to have a more dynamite year than ever before! Whether this is your first time selling a home, or if you are seasoned at accomplishing real estate goals, our team is here to offer the most professional, most secure, and most profitable real estate transactions possible. We take pride in what we do and it shows!

    ...Better Listings...

    In addition to individual websites, we go above the average expectation. You see, almost every agent can say that your home will be listed on nationwide sites such as Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com but what not all of them can say is that we heavily invest in the extended Pro accounts to get your listing featured in searches with added enhancements to the listing and photos-even better exposure.


    To the Buyer, your homes first impression begins with its photos. More than ever, the quality of the homes photos can literally make the difference of selling a home or not, and we understand the importance of getting what the Buyers are looking for photographed correctly the first time. We are constantly updating photos as needed, which attracts more views, and gains better placement on the web.


    Our clients are relaxed, and dont wonder whats happening with their transactions because they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will be the first to know when something happens during their transaction. During the listing process before an offer, clients are updated with feedback to showings, and have the ability to sign into their personal listing accounts to review statistics as they are happening online anytime.

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